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June 7, 2005

PATH Unveils New Wave of Storm-Resistant Houses

Mercedes Homes prototypes combat wind and rain infiltration

MELBOURNE, FL - The Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) Partnership for Advancing Technology in Housing (PATH) and Mercedes Homes are proud to unveil two hurricane-resistant prototype homes at 11:30 a.m., Thursday, June 9 at 1170 and 1176 Serengeti Way in Rockledge, Florida. In collaboration with PATH, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the University of Florida and the Florida Energy Extension Service, Mercedes has built prototypes incorporating technologies and practices that can make houses safer in Florida and other hurricane-prone regions.

HUD's Orlando Field Office Director Paul Ausley will be speaking. Representatives of PATH, Mercedes, FEMA, and the University of Florida will be available to answer questions.

Even before 2004's devastating hurricane season, PATH and its partners were working with Mercedes to develop a hurricane-resistant model home that incorporated proven wind-resistant features, such as concrete construction, tie-downs, steel reinforcement, secondary roof coverings, and window shutters.

However, in the wake of last year's storms, PATH discovered that wind damage is only part of the story. Even homes that met current codes emphasizing structural integrity were likely to suffer significant water damage due to breaches in the roof, walls, doors, and windows. Therefore, Mercedes and PATH developed strategies to keep wind-driven moisture out of these prototype homes. Outward swinging front doors, design modifications to keep water out of eaves, and concrete coatings that prevent water absorption are just a few of the innovations that will be closely monitored by the University of Florida, which will conduct a case study on the houses and incorporate the data into its engineering coursework. Additionally, PATH will work with Mercedes Homes to conduct cost analysis on the new technologies and develop strategies to include the practices into future projects.

For more information:
Scott T. Shepherd

Content updated on 6/7/2005

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